If I had a dollar for every time someone told me there weren't enough hours in the day, I would be a rich woman. There are 24 days in a day, and we all have the same amount of time to get stuff done. Given this, how do some people manage to achieve so much, and others so little?
The answer is time management. The most effective method is to employ the 80/20 rule. What does this mean? For the average person, 80% of focused efforts only generate 20% of results. It should be the reverse: 20% of your efforts should make up 80% of your results.
Here are some simple time management tips to help you reach your goals much faster:
1. Use a planner
Plain and simple. It can be an old school paper diary, or an electronic one (iPhone etc.) Write down your appointments and plan around them to see periods of time in your day that can be better utilised.
2. Assess how you are currently spending your time
Look at everything you do every day and every week and see whether there are patterns. Where are you wasting your time? Where can you chunk your time together (i.e. 3 10-minute things over the course of the day can be combined into 1 30-minute task).
Look where you are spending time where you don't need to be. Can your laundry be done once a week instead of three times per week?
3. Seek support
Who can support you with things that you don't want (or need) to do? Outsource everything you can: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc. And if you think you can't afford these luxuries, think about what your time is worth on an hourly rate when you undertake these tasks. More often than not, your time is better spent working on your projects / advancing your career etc, for more chance of promotion or progress.
4. Categorise your time in your diary
Set up time in your calendar for different categories. Where you have extra time available, devote this time to what you should be doing. Categories could include:
- Study time
- Marketing time (if you run your own business)
- Administrative time: paperwork, filing etc.
- Me time: massage, movies, cooking, reading.
5. Determine your priorities
What do you really want to accomplish? My bet is that your goal isn't to watch more TV. Spend less time doing the things that don't matter.
6. Organise things you would like to accomplish by project
List projects individually and write down each step you need to take to accomplish your project. Put action steps in order and focus on each step along the way.
Schedule those action steps in your calendar and stick to them.
7. Don't overwhelm yourself
If you see too many things in your schedule, you may get overwhelmed and procrastinate, and thereby not do anything.
8. Take action
Check off those action steps as you go to see what you have accomplished. Give yourself a deadline for when you would like to achieve these goals.
9. Continue to check your calendar
Keep on top of what needs to be accomplished. See how you can get support from the people around you to continue to progress.
10. Trust the process
Trust in the process and believe in yourself. By planning, scheduling and taking action, you will be learning enough.
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